Student visa applications (outside UK)

Below you will find information on the Student visa application process (outside UK).

NEWS FLASH: The required level of maintenance (living costs) for a Student visa application has now increased to £1,334 per month inside London and £1,023 outside London. This applies to all applications made on or after 9:00am on 1st December 2020.

Before you apply for your visa

Check here and select your country to see if you need a UK visa.

If you need to apply for a Student visa, you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies). This is an electronic document with a unique number that you must use in your visa application. It will be emailed to you by GCU Admissions after you have accepted an unconditional offer and paid a deposit on your fees and then completed the CAS data check.

Application overview

You will need to fill out the visa application form (either online or on paper, depending which country you are applying from), pay the application fee and prepare your supporting documents. You will then be given an appointment at your local Visa Application Centre to submit these documents. In some countries, the Visa Application Centre is run by a commercial company (such as VFS Global or TLScontact), but they do not have any influence over the visa process itself; your application will still be considered by Entry Clearance Officers working for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). *Note: Most VACs are currently closed due to COVID-19. We will provide a further update as soon as possible. 

As part of the process, you may also be interviewed. The person interviewing you will be looking to confirm that your English is up to the required standard (without the need for an interpreter). They may also ask you about why you chose to study in the UK and at GCU in particular, and a little about your subject area. You may also be asked about your life and family at home, and your immigration history (particularly if you have been to the UK before). Our useful leaflet preparing for your Credibility Interviews can be downloaded here.

We recommend you read the process outlined here before you apply for your visa, and contact the team if you have any queries.

The Student visa guidance can be access online.

Immigration Health Surcharge

You will need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’) for yourself and any dependents applying for a visa with you. You will then have access to the National Health Service (NHS) whilst studying in the UK. Please note there may still be a charge for some services such as dental treatment and prescription charges.

The exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you are granted. Currently, you will be required to pay £470 for every year granted in the United Kingdom and £235 for every 6 months thereafter. This is following the increase, which came into effect on 27th October 2020. 

Using the course dates provided in your CAS Data Check, the IHS calculator will work out the amount you will be required to pay upfront for every year in the United Kingdom.  Please note dependents will need to pay the same amount as you.

If you’re making your immigration application online or through a Premium Service Centre, you pay the surcharge as part of your application or when you book an appointment.

Note that the Order refers to length of leave, not length of course, so the additional periods at the start and end of a course are taken into account when calculating the immigration health charge.

Credibility Interviews
Tuberculosis Screening

Students from some countries coming to the UK for more than 6 months are required to be tested for TB as part of the Permission to Enter application process. If you are a national of a country that appears here, you will need to obtain a testing certificate from an approved clinic and submit it with your application.

You do not need a TB test if you lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is required by the UK but you have been away from that country for more than 6 months in a country which does not require a TB certificate.

If you are referred for a further screening test following the initial x-ray test please be aware that the results can take up to 8 weeks. If this screening test is negative you will be issued your TB certificate.

You should not apply for your visa until you have obtained confirmation and the certificate.

Obtaining a CAS for new studies
Maintenance funds

If you are applying for a visa to study in the UK for the first time you must show that you have money for your course fees plus: £1,015* for living costs for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months for GCU in Glasgow (£1,265* at GCU London). The cost for this visa application is £348.

*NEWS FLASH: The required level of maintenance (living costs) for a Student visa application is increasing from 1st December 2020 and will now be £1,334 per month inside London and £1,023 outside London. 

Please check here for your country's lists of financial institutions if included, to confirm your financial statements are accepted or those that do not satisfactorily verify financial statements.

The recommended UKVI currency convertor is OANDA. Please use this to calculate all fees and living costs required in £ sterling to ensure you have sufficient funds.

Financial Evidence

When you apply for your visa, you need to submit supporting financial documents which meet the formal requirements of UKVI. Your CAS will state how much fees you have paid and any university Accommodation fees paid. UKVI will use this information to calculate your required living costs. Please visit our dedicated webpage on Financial Evidence for further advice.

NEWS FLASH: The required level of maintenance (living costs) for a Student visa application has now increased to £1,334 per month inside London and £1,023 outside London. This applies to all applications made on or after 9:00am on 1st December 2020.

Visa processing times

It is essential that you apply for your visa in plenty of time before your course start date. This also includes ensuring you have ATAS clearance (if applicable - click here for more details) before you apply. How long your application will take to be processed depends on what country you are applying from, and what time of year you apply (July to September and December to January tend to be busy times). For processing times in your home country please visit UKVI Visa Processing Times.

You cannot travel to the UK until your visa has been granted. If you think you may not be able to arrive in time for your start date, then you must email Admissions and Enquiry Team and mark your email as urgent. In some rare cases you may be able to join your studies late, but this is at the discretion of the academic school. In all other cases you will be given the option to defer to the next intake.

Refused visa applications

If your application is refused, you will be issued with a refusal notice explaining the exact reason(s) for this. You must email Admissions and Enquiry Team or Visa Immigration Support & Advice (VISA) Team: or GCU London: immediately with the subject "VISA REFUSAL". Please scan each page of your refusal notice and attach it to the email. Also quote your Student ID number.

If your Student visa application is refused and you disagree with the reason(s), you do not have a full right of appeal, but instead you are given the opportunity for an "Administrative Review". This is where a senior UKVI Officer reviews the decision and overturns it if he/she agrees that the refusal was incorrect. VISA may also be able to help if you believe the decision is incorrect, please contact the team immediately.

In some cases you may be able to make a second application after you have been refused. If you do this, you will need a new CAS; you cannot re-apply with the one for which you have been refused. See the UKVI's guide to document information for advice on the type of documents you should submit with a Student visa application to avoid being refused.

Entering the UK with an Entry Clearance Visa

If you have obtained your visa in your home country, you must ensure your visa is stamped upon entry to the UK. As part of your continued requirement to adhere to GCU student and visa conditions, your visa must be stamped with your date of entry to activate it.

You must also present your CAS number at the port of entry into the UK along with your documents. Please ensure you have this available when you travel.

If your visa is not stamped on entry, you must present yourself to an immigration official at the airport in the UK and explain that you have not had your visa stamped. It is advisable to keep copies of your flight booking and tickets for your personal record to confirm your date of entry to the UK in addition to the stamp on your passport.

UK Border Force have expanded the eGates to nationals from seven additional countries at 15 major airports and Eurostar terminals for mid May 2019.

The eGate expansion means that eligible nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America can use the automated eGates on arrival into the UK, free of charge. Nationals from these seven countries will also no longer need to complete a landing card on arrival.

Please note you must not use the eGate if you are entering the UK as a student. You must see a Border Force Officer on arrival to stamp and activate your visa.

If you enter via the European Common Travel Area including the Republic of Ireland then you will not clear UK immigration. We therefore, highly recommend you do not book travel via Dublin as this may cause issues for your entry clearance and ability to study. If you do travel via this route you must retain your flight booking confirmation and boarding passes. These documents must remain with your passport for all future travel as evidence of your confirmed entry and activation of your Tier 4 visa.

The University will monitor this during Registration and Attendance Checkpoints.

Please contact Visa Immigration Support & Advice or GCU London for further information.

Applying for the Student visa outside UK to continue your studies – CAS

You have left the UK and planning to return to the UK to continue your studies. As you are applying for your Student Visa from outside the UK, you will be required to provide satisfactory evidence of a valid visa application before your CAS can be released.

  • You will submit an online CAS request application via the online store.  Visa Immigration Support and Advice (VISA) Team will be notified if you are applying out of the country. You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of £45 when submitting this.
  • You are required to provide evidence you left the UK to VISA, i.e. flight confirmation, entry stamp for your home country, boarding pass etc.
  • VISA will provide visa advice for a Student Visa Application (Entry Clearance).
  • You will be required to provide financial documents to VISA to verify you meet the maintenance requirements under the Student Visa.
  • Once VISA have verified your flight evidence and financial documents and confirmed they satisfy visa requirements, VISA will release the CAS. Please note Registry will only send the CAS to the VISA Team to release, the CAS will not be sent to you.
  • Please note if you are returning to the UK for less than 6 months, you will be advised to apply for a Short-Term Study visa and issued a Confirmation of Student Status Letter for Short-Term Study visa from Registry. The University will not issue a CAS.
  • VISA are also able to assist with completing the online application, therefore you can provide log-in details to VISA team and request assistance.

Our leaflet Leaving and Re-entering the UK provides a handy guidance to the process and tips.